I was amazed to find that I had no demos booked this weekend! Apparently the new guy (that none of us have met yet) is supposed to do them, but rumour has it he’s broken his leg.
I had a massive headache, and was still feeling pretty crappy because of the “monthly friend” issue. After lunch I still had a few hours to kill before class, so Katrina and I went to the spare room where the kids beds are stored, to lie down. Naps have always been allowed at Happy English, which is really nice especially when we have so much extra time to kill.
The door opened and closed, then opened and closed again. A few minutes later Lainey came in “Come on get up, lets go.”
Katrina sat up, rubbing her eyes, “What’s wrong Lainey?”
“Come on lets go.”
“You know you can’t just be sleeping.”
“Why not, naps are allowed.” I replied.
“Who told you that.”
Katrina had her back up, “Who complained about us?”
“Lulu!? I see the marketing staff sleeping all the time.”
Lainey muttered something about work hours.
“Lainey is Lulu our boss? I thought she was in charge of marketing. Candy’s our boss.” Close to a year after beginning my job I was told that Lulu was the next up below Sara, our head boss. “So no one thought it was important to tell me who my boss was all this time?” I was furious, and the headache I had been trying to get rid of was getting worse. Of course they had sent the pregnant woman to bug us so we couldn’t pile too much on her. So we returned to the office furious, fuming about every tiny piece of shit we’d had to deal with during our time at “Happy” English. The amount of times we’d been lied to on our contract, behind our backs, and to our face, was piling up.
“You know what,” I said to Katrina, not caring who heard, “It’s not us that they have to worry about, it’s all the new teachers they’re bringing into this shit. We’ve ben here long enough we’re going to stay, but there’s a reason you have so many people flying in and quitting after a few months. They’re told things will be one way and then when they show up everything’s completely different. If Nate wasn’t so level headed I would have quit within a month when all that shit went down.”
“They don’t realize how hard it is for us,” Katrina agreed as the conversation flowed from one problem to the next, “We don’t get to see our family for a year while we’re here. You’d think, being China (referring to the family oriented ideology), they’d think that was important, but they don’t even tell us about our holidays until the day before they take place. We can’t book tickets that soon to the date.”
Back at my desk I put my head on my arms, hoping the darkness would help dim the throbbing headache, and my arms would hide the tears that were threatening to pour out of my eyes. The homesickness was eating away at me. Pull yourself together Jenn, this is what you’re here for, to give these kids a different perspective, you’ve got a class to teach. I knew my outburst had been far from professional, but after a while I only felt like being as professional as my employers. Besides, in that moment it all felt pretty pointless. I was Just trying to hold out for the rest of the five months I had left.
I managed to pull myself together and put on a half descent class. A walk with Katrina to buy a cake for her graduating class helped a lot. I’ve written before about the toxic office environment, sometimes just stepping out the door could greatly improve a mood.
I forgot my keys on my desk after work, and Nate had gone off to play magic. I needed to get some writing done anyways, so I found a place to sit in the park. It was peaceful with children running around. Nice environment to write in, though I knew the light wouldn’t last.
Just as the sun was setting three old men came out to do some Tai Chi. The first routine was one I knew (involving 24 steps), but the second was the 84 step routine, and the third I didn’t know at all. I joined in anyways, and afterwards they talked to me for a while with one man’s grand daughter, who I think was supposed to be there to translate, but in reality just spoke really fast Chinese at me.
Suddenly “HAODE HAODE!” whoosh a fire lit up in the middle of the park! A bunch of boys ran over whooping and screaming, trying to stomp it out. Fortunately the park is made of pavement,and the fire was far from any of the greenery.